Top Ten Questions to Ask your Contractor
What is your contractor’s background?
Does your contractor have a thorough background in the building industry or was it a secondary career? You need to have worked in the trades to completely understand the business and be an efficient contractor.
Does your contractor have an established place of business?
Does your contractor have an office/ showroom you can visit during business hours or are they the work out of their home, meet you at Starbucks type? If you were paying a doctor hundreds of thousands of dollars, would you go to one working out of their house?
Ask to talk to a few of their subcontractors
If your contractor is above board the subcontractors will tell you how he runs his jobs, if he pays on time, requires the correct amount of insurance with additional insured certificates. The subs will tell you the truth!
Ask your contractor if they have an IIPP in place
Every contractor in the state of California is required to have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). If they do not have one of these in place they are in violation of Title 8, Section 1509.
Ask for a list of references
Most contractors will have a website that lists these people with phone numbers. If your contractor does not have a website, are they the contractor that you want to invest in their business?
Ask your contractor some random building questions
If your contractor is experienced he will easily be able to answer a variety of general building questions without having to rely on his subcontractors for answers. You are going to need someone you can depend on, not someone who depends on other people.
Ask your contractor if they have ever had any violations with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB)
You can check them out on their site www.cslb.com and see your contractor’s statistics.
Ask your contractor how he goes about the bidding process and arrives at his price
Most legitimate contractors who pay all the required insurance and overhead costs should be priced very close to each other. If there is a big difference in price there usually is a reason.
Ask your contractor about the (grey areas) on the plans and in the building process
Some contractors come in with the "low bid" but only have the basics in the scope of work. They are known as "change order contractors". Who in the end it will cost you a lot more than you thought.
Ask your contractor about his insurance policy
Legitimate contractors have many different policy's (workman’s comp, general liability, AI certificates, bonds, commercial fleet). If your contractor is not carrying these, you can be held responsible.